International Sommelier program

The International Sommelier program

Led by the Université du vin of Suze-la-Rousse and the ITHQ (Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec) the International Sommelier Program is offered to enhance the expertise, critical thinking and service quality of restaurant and wine professionals.

Our Partner the ITHQ : Located in the heart of Montreal, one of the world’s most welcoming cities, the ITHQ is a public school that offers three levels of programsvocational (DVS), technical (DCS)  and university (BA).  To train students, the ITHQ relies not only on the expertise of its 100 instructors but also on the contribution of industry specialists and leaders.

An exclusive training program

• A content covering all aspects of the work of a sommelier: winemaking, wine geography, analytical tasting, service, management and marketing. wine-university-english-training-universite-du-vin

• A flexible educational approach consisting of lectures, distance courses, internships and bilingual modules. The study trip accross Southern French vineyards is scheduled in May 2020 from the 11th to the 22nd.

This part-time program has 7 modules spread out over a minimum of one and a half years .

• The option of completing some modules in the Rhone Valley, in France, or in Montreal.

Who can apply to the International Sommelier program?

All restaurant and wine agency professionals (sommelier, restaurant managers, maîtres d’hôtel, importers, retailers etc.), interested in high-level training.

By completing all the modules, the graduated International Sommelier will:
• be able to evaluate the characteristics aspects of the wine industry using a wide range of knowledge and a comprehensive vision of its origins (analytical tasting, gastronomic culture, etc.)
• master the complex techniques of restaurant wine service.
•understand the characteristics, dynamics and players of the different wine and spirits markets from a commercial standpoint.

Which job opportunities?

Sommelier or Chief sommelier, wine business manager, self-employed wine experts, importers etc.

In what kind of company?

In hotel and restaurant business, in high-end hotel groups, importers, distributors or as self-employed.


Anywhere in the world


Eligibility to the International Sommelier program :

  • Be at least 18 years of age before the courses begin
  • Have an intermediate level of oral and written French (Level B2 or equivalent).
  • Have intermediate knowledge of oral and written English (Level B2 or equivalent) (for Module 3 and above)

You must also have passed one of the following programs or the equivalent:

  • Université du vin Sommelier-conseil, Caviste ® diploma
  • Université du vin Commercial en vins Certificate
  • Wine Discovery 1 and 2, or all modules of the ITHQ Wine Professional program
  • ITHQ International Service and Sommelier Training (AVS and DVS)
  • Any validated professional Sommelier diploma (French Mention complémentaire or Brevet professionnel, or from any other country)
  • WSET Level 3 Award in Wines
    or have experience deemed relevant (to be determined)

In all cases, the Université du vin and ITHQ reserve the right to interview candidates to determine whether their experience is sufficient.

Duration and schedule :

  • This part-time program has 7 modules spread out over a minimum of one and a half years
  • Modules 1 and 2 are prerequisites for Modules 3 to 7
  • Modules 3 to 7 can be taken individually
  • Each module is offered full-time for a maximum period of two weeks
  • There is no time limit to complete the program
  • The program includes a total of about 700 hours of training : in-class hours, distance training hours and internships hours
  • The course schedule is variable depending on the modules taken

Practical information

  • All courses (distance or in-class) and internships can be taken in Quebec or France at the student’s convenience
  • Spots are limited : 5 min and 24 students max per group, chosen on a priority basis according to their order of registration
  • All students must adhere to basic professional image rules.

Diploma & Certificates

  • A certificate is issued for each module passed.
  • The International Sommelier diploma is awarded to students who have passed all 7 modules.
  • The certificates and diploma are issued jointly by the Université du vin de Suze-la-Rousse and the ITHQ

Costs :

  • Tuition fees are fully refundable if students cancel their registration at least 1 month before the first day of the term. Between 1 month and 15 days before the term, tuition fees will be refunded minus a 25% administrative fee ; and before 15 days and the beginning of the class, minus a 50% administrative fee. No refunds will be granted after this date.
  • The Université du vin and the ITHQ reserve the right to cancel a course or program due to insufficient enrolment. In such cases, application and tuition fees are refunded.

NB :

  • Tuition fees include the costs for the course notes and wine samples; however, there are additional costs for books – Please note that living expenses are entirely under the student’s responsibility.
  • All amounts are in €uros including French taxes.
  • The amounts listed may change without notice.

When to Apply?

  • Between December 1st and January 30th 2020 (courses will start mid April 2020)

Courses’ dates in France

Module 1 : Analytical tasting- from April 21st to April 30th 2020 (8 days)

Module 2 : Viti-vinification – from May 4th to May 7th 2020 (4 days) + 35 hours intership on the production side of a winery, merchant company, family estate etc.

Modules 3 : Wine world geography

  • Study Trip accross the French vineyards – from May 11th to May 22nd 2020
  • French vineyards: classes – from May 25th to May 29th 2020
  • European vineyards – Except France – dates to be confirmed
  • World vineyards – except Europe – dates to be confirmed
  • other beverages – dates to be confirmed

Module 4 : Food and wine pairings – dates to be confirmed

Module 5 : Elaborate service – dates to be confirmed

Module 6 : Wines and spirits Management & marketing – dates to be confirmed

Module 7 : Internship in a second language- dates to be confirmed

Application process

For any further information and/or to join the program, please  download and and fill in the application  form attached and contact :

Université du vin
Géraldine GOSSOT,
Directrice de l’Université du vin

ou Lisa Vanon 

Francis Archambault,
Coordinateur de la Formation professionnelle ITHQ


Pour retrouver la page de la formation Sommelier-Expert à l’International en Français


Contact us for more information